Europeans, Americans prioritize in-person interactions, while the world leans towards social media
February 12th, 2024, Janice Fernandes

Europeans, Americans prioritize in-person interactions, while the world leans towards social media

A recent survey delves into the preferences of people worldwide, exploring whether they often prefer to interact with people on social media than in person.

Polling data shows that 38% of respondents from 48 markets express a preference for interacting on social media, while 32% remain neutral and 30% favor in-person interactions. This distribution suggests a diverse range of attitudes toward communication methods on a global scale – but a perhaps surprising overall preference for digital communication.

Delving into country-specific data reveals that South Africa stands out with a significant majority (59%) agreeing with the statement that they ‘often prefer to interact with people on social media than in person’. Saudi Arabia, India and the United Arab Emirates follow closely behind, with nearly half of respondents in each country expressing a preference for social media interactions (46%-47%).

In contrast, consumers in some countries disagree with the statement displaying a stronger inclination towards face-to-face interactions. Germany, Italy, and France emerge as notable examples, where only 25%, 23%, and 20% of respondents, respectively, prefer social media.

Consumers in the Nordics region also indicate a preference for in-person interactions with more than half of consumers disagreeing with the statement – Sweden (51%) and Denmark (59%).

In Great Britain, 31% say they prefer to interact with people on social media, while around 55% disagree. A similar trend is mirrored in the United States, where 37% agree and 49% disagree.

On the other end of the globe, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia display a more balanced preference between social media and in-person interactions.

Unsurprisingly, age plays a significant role in shaping preferences. Younger consumers, aged 18-24 and 25-34, are more likely to favor social media interactions, with 43% in agreement, compared to only 24% of those aged 55 and above. This age-related trend persists across all markets surveyed, indicating a generational shift in communication preferences.

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Methodology: YouGov Global Profiles is a globally consistent audience dataset with 1000+ questions across 48 markets. The data is based on continuously collected data from adults aged 16+ years in China and 18+ years in other markets. The sample sizes for YouGov Global Profiles will fluctuate over time, however the minimum sample size is always c.1000. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from India and UAE, which use urban representative samples, and China, Egypt, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, Philippines, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam, which use online representative samples. Learn more about Global Profiles.